Republican Assemblyman Cameron Smyth has decided not to run for the state Senate this year.
Smyth had been mentioned as a possible GOP candidate to butt heads with Democratic Sen. Fran Pavley for a Ventura County swing seat, the 27th Senate District.
"I just felt the seat wasn't right for me at this time - not the right seat, not the right time," Smyth said.
The Santa Clarita resident said he has decided to return to his Southern California home and be a "better husband and better father" after he is termed out of the Assembly this year. He has three children, ages 8, 5 and 18 months.
Smyth, a government relations consultant before entering the Legislature, said he is not sure where or in what field he will work next year.
"I'm a conservative at heart and I've never expected to spend my entire career chasing a government paycheck," he said.
Smyth is the third potential candidate to decide against challenging Pavley for the Senate seat. Former Assembly Speaker Robert Hertzberg, a Democrat, turned thumbs down last month. Republican state Sen. Tony Strickland, R-Moorpark, opted to seek an incumbent-free congressional seat instead.
Democrats outnumber Republicans in voter registration, 41 percent to 34 percent, in the Ventura County Senate district that is considered a key to Democrats' hopes of gaining a two-thirds majority in the upper house.